At least 30 people have been killed and at least 31 wounded in an assault on a suspected drug lord’s compound in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, according to news reports.
Security forces have been fighting some residents who want to prevent the extradition to the United States of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, according to CNN. Coke was charged last year in U.S. federal court with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and cocaine and with conspiracy to traffic in firearms illegally.
On Monday, May 24, Jamaican police launched the assault on Coke’s stronghold in downtown Kingston, and police are now battling his supporters there.
On Tuesday, May 25, the third consecutive day of unrest, masked gunmen in West Kingston vanished down side streets barricaded with barbed wire and junked cars intended to block outsiders. The sound of gunfire echoed across the neighborhoods in Jamaica’s south coast, far from the all-inclusive tourist meccas of the north shore.
Police spokesman Corporal Richard Minott told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the fighting in West Kingston alone has killed 26 civilians and one security official. Police had reported that earlier fighting killed two officers and a soldier.
It was not immediately clear what was happening inside the patchwork of slums where Coke’s supporters began massing last week after Prime Minister Bruce Golding dropped his nine-month refusal to extradite Coke, who has ties to his political party.
Pictured above is Christopher “Dudus” Coke.